Until The Last Bell Rings
The man behind the lens is one of many migrant workers in India’s rickshaw industry, often known as a “puller”. There are two main kinds of rickshaws found around India. There are the hand pullers which pull their rickshaws on foot. Then there are cycle rickshaws which are drawn by a bicycle. This form of transport provides work and income to a large population of unskilled migrants.
It’s a hard life pulling through the busy streets and narrow lanes of urban India for a few rupees a day. There are so many harsh elements to consider like the scorching Indian summer heat and the cold chill of the winter months. The pullers body’s take a physical beating while breathing in burnt carbon emissions from the large amount of taxies, tuk tuk’s and busses on the busy roads. Due to the conditions, in 2005 the provincial government of Kolkata declared the job of a hand puller as inhumane.
Pullers provide a service of point to point connectivity that only their rickshaws manage to reach. Not only is their transport environmentally friendly but it is also the cheapest. These days you don’t hear the ringing of the small bells that pullers use as their rickshaw’s horn as often anymore. The amount of pullers are dropping drastically due to authorities often not issuing new licences.
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Another hard fact is that Rickshaws often also become a pullers make shift bed at night. Some rickshaws can be spotted in narrow lanes or under bridges at night. This is where they try to get some shut eye before their recurring duties of the next day.
Despite all odds, the last remaining pullers in India still see it as their duty to carry their passengers or goods safely to their destination every day. Most strive just to earn a few rupees to support families.
Have you ever been on a rickshaw in India? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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